Business 101: Part 1 - Shopping Seasons

Hi All,
In reviewing my last post, I neglected to mention one very important thing: shopping seasons! Understanding the seasons and holidays are very important in sales, perhaps more so when you're running your own shop. Although this can be very discouraging for small business owners, often times the summer months are the hardest to weather (ha ha, no pun intended) because most shopping centers around large holidays, such as Christmas and Black Friday. In the retail culture, Christmas and Black Friday shopping can make it or break it for the ENTIRE year. A close second is the Back To School season in August/September. Take this into consideration when you're running your own business.

What can you do to compensate for this?
Stay positive! I know it's difficult, because as a shop owner I face the same challenges and sometimes upsetting defeats. We are our own worst enemies when it comes to this. The sales will come, but the most important thing is staying positive and being consistent with your listing and advertising.

In slow times for internet sales you can also refocus your efforts.
1. Try working on different parts of your business, for example drumming up business with family and friends. It's pretty easy to print up fliers or have post cards made - vista print will often do them for free. All you have to do is provide shipping payment, which is usually around $5.

2. Work on your listings. Sometimes revisiting an old listing can give it new life.  Rewrite the description. Reshoot the photographs. Retag it.

3. Follow up with your favorites. Look to see who loves your items. Message the people who love that item and let them know the piece they love has gone on sale, if it has.

4.  Make sure your business cards are *perfect*, and if they're not (like mine) make sure you add the correct contact information before handing them out or stuffing them in a customer's bag. (I've found that if you do this before-hand, a stack at a time, it saves you time when talking to your client!)

5.  Get localized. You can also do small craft fairs and street fairs for minimal costs. These types of fairs are usually juried, which means your application is required to be submitted to a panel. The panel decides to accept or reject your booth. These types of fairs are popular in the summer. (Bazaars and holiday events can keep your local off-line business booming in the winter!) These have two-fold bonuses: they get your name out there; and your items are seen. Even if you don't make a sale, you can give out cards and make an impression on shoppers. They may become a return shopper!

6. Work on new projects! I like to keep a sketch journal for ideas. I try to take it with me, wherever I go. You never know when inspiration will strike!

7.  View Other's Work - get ideas! Get inspired!

Remember, the lull in sales is only temporary!

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